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Transplanting Shrubs

Landscapes are dynamic – changing with the season, over time and as our gardening goals evolve. Save those special shrubs by transplanting them into a better space that will accommodate their mature size, growing needs and your landscape design.

Move shrubs in the spring before growth begins or in fall as the plants go dormant for greatest success.

Loosely tie the branches of the shrubs to prevent damage and keep them out of your way. The rabbits did some unwanted pruning on our viburnum, eliminating the need for this. Dig a trench around the shrub slightly larger and deeper than the desired rootball.

Undercut the rootball with a shovel. A sharp spade, hand pruner or lopper will help you cut through larger roots.

Slide a piece of burlap or canvas under the rootball. Ask a friend or neighbor for help with larger plants. This is easier on your back and reduces the risk of dropping the shrub and damaging the rootball.

A bit more information: Increase your chance of success by digging a rootball sized for the plant you are transplanting. Dig a root ball 12 inches deep and 9 inches in diameter for 2 feet tall shrubs, 14 inches deep and 11 inches in diameter for 3 feet tall shrubs and 16 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter for 4, 5, and 6 feet tall shrubs.

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